For thirty years John Waters has shocked movie-going audiences with his films. Waters is a true pioneer having made some of the grossest films of all time before the Farrely Brothers made it hip. “Pink Flamingoes” features the infamous filthy fecal eating scene with Divine. “Female Trouble” endeared audiences to serial killers. And “Polyester” introduced Odorama.
Waters’ latest, Cecil B. Demented, is like a big middle finger aimed square at the Hollywood machine that cranks out manipulative mainstream crap like Patch Adams. CBD stars Stephen Dorf as a maniacal film director who kidnaps movie star Honey Whitlock (Melanie Griffith).
I have to warn you that this is not a very good interview. In fact, this is the worst interview with John Waters that you will ever read and there is a very good reason. I am far too familiar with the subject matter. John and I have known each other for almost 15 years and meeting up with him is like visiting an old friend. I became an instant fan at 16 when I saw a John Waters’ retrospective that included “Pink Flamingoes.” I was so disturbed, I felt as if I was scarred for life. Thanks John, for screwing me up. In a way, reading this interview is like listening in on a conversation between two old friends – one that you shouldn’t be hearing.
I caught up with John in the lobby of the Chateau Marmount Hotel on Sunset Boulevard for drinks and conversation.
If you had to pitch Cecil B. Demented to a Hollywood studio, how would you sell it? ^ Here is the exact pitch that I gave: Cecil B. Demented is an R-rated, action comedy about a young lunatic film director and his band of film cultists who kidnap an A list movie star and force her to be in their underground movie. And that’s about as long as they can remember because they hear a lot of pitches. I have good agents. I get to the guys that say yes or no that day.
I felt as if you made this film for me personally. ^ (Laughs) I did, Chris.
I’m totally serious, because I was laughing at every line. The conversations about movies in Cecil B. Demented sound like conversations I’ve had myself. ^ Film Threat readers were the closest possible to “Sprocket Holes.” I mean, you celebrated that kind of attitude and still do. You did it and no one followed suit. No one copied you. No one copied me. So, what I’m saying is that you all did have, in a way, that militancy. Didn’t you encourage readers to attack another magazine?
With “Premiere” magazine. Yeah, we started kind of a mock “war.” ^ That’s what I mean. You know what — that was an influence. Maybe a subliminal one, but that certainly is an influence in this movie. Because you got in trouble, right?
Yeah, people did things that could have gotten us in trouble and we just had to say…enough. ^ Now that I think about it, when you attacked that other magazine that was an idea that maybe led me this way and it was totally forgotten about until you just said that. I remember loving that because it was so hilarious. Especially because even you didn’t think they’d do it and they did! That doesn’t happen to me.
Get more of the conversation between Gore and Waters as they discuss the Cannes Film Festival, focus groups and gerbils going where no gerbil should be allowed in part two of JOHN WATERS: CINEMA TERRORIST>>> .
Posted on May 16, 2001 in Interviews by Chris Gore
If you liked this article then you may also like the following Film Threat articles:
- JOHN WATERS CULT RADIO
- A SALUTE TO JOHN WATERS
- JOHN WATERS: CINEMA TERRORIST (part 2)
- “DEMENTED” WANTS YOU!
- WHAT’S THE DIFF WITH JOHN WATERS?
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